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AFC: Indiana House Passes Landmark School Voucher Program

Posted on Thursday March 31, 2011 | DC

Washington, D.C. (March 30, 2011) - Indiana children may soon have the opportunity to use school vouchers to attend the private schools of their parents’ choice next year. The Indiana House of Representatives tonight passed legislation to create an expansive, accountable school choice program that will benefit low-income families.

The American Federation for Children, which has worked with School Choice Indiana (www.schoolchoiceindiana.com) and other allies—including the Indiana-based Foundation for Educational Choice—to advance the voucher effort in the state, applauded the vote.

Shepherded through the House by Speaker Brian Bosma and the legislation’s author, Representative Robert Behning (R-Indianapolis),  the proposed new program could potentially benefit tens of thousands of disadvantaged children. Up to 15,000 children would be eligible to benefit in the program’s second year of operation. Children whose parents make less than $60,000 per year (for a family of four) would be able to access vouchers. 

Importantly, the legislation provides strong accountability measures to make certain that only high-quality private schools—which lead to increased student performance—can participate in the program.

“Tonight’s vote in the Indiana House is a victory for children across the Hoosier state,” said AFC Chairman Betsy DeVos. “We look forward to the State Senate’s discussion of this important legislation and to the enactment of a program that will give all of Indiana’s children hope for a brighter future.”

A recent public opinion survey indicated that 66 percent of Indiana residents support school vouchers.  The legislation is also strongly endorsed by Governor Mitch Daniels and State Education Superintendent Tony Bennett.